Nov 212013
 

At the Federal level of government, we’ve seen outrageous behavior and heard inappropriate comments from Senators and House Representatives. Likewise with State of Illinois officials. We’ve also seen and heard the same from our city council members and city manager. But now, what’s the deal with mayors doing the same thing.

Watch and listen as Conan O’Brien makes a comparison between San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, and New York City defeated mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.

It even occurred just beyond our border in Canada, where Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has become a daily entertainment story.

At least you have to give Mayor Rob Ford credit for answering questions even if in the style of a game show.

So who started this trend of mayors acting goofy. Is it possible, even slightly, that our very own Naperville mayor George Pradel began the ball rolling when he picked up a hammer during a Naperville city council meeting and began to do his version of a ‘beat-down’ on a cardboard facsimile of an unwanted building here in Naperville.

Chances are pretty good that none of the four will be in office after elections, but that only means there will be others in their place, entertaining us. It makes me wonder if Naperville’s next mayor has a favorite tool in his garage.

Nov 102013
 

Imagine if you managed your household expenses in the same manner that Naperville city council members control spending of taxpayer dollars. The first thing you would notice is that you would be in huge debt.  You would also be saying ‘yes’ to  just about every expense you could have. When telephone solicitors called, you would be buying whatever they sell. Your family slogan would be, “Say yes to expense”, just as most Naperville city officials do.

Is there anybody on the Naperville city council who can say ‘no’ to expense? Since June through the first half of November, there have been only two council members who have voted ‘no’ to expense; they are councilman Doug Krause who has voted ‘no’ four times, and councilman Steve Chirico who voted ‘no’ once. That’s it, just those two. Every other council member has voted ‘yes’ to every single expense item brought up for a vote. That’s seven council members in total who can’t seem to say ‘no’ to expense.

What is even more troubling, is that during that five month plus period of time, there have been a total of only 25 questions asked by council members concerning expense items on the agendas. More than half of those questions (15) have been asked by Chirico (6), Krause (5), and councilman Paul Hinterlong (4).

Council members Joe McElroy and Dave Wentz have asked three questions each, Wehrli has asked one question, while council members Judith Brodhead and Bob Fieseler have asked only one question each.

And the council member who since the first of June has not seen an expense that he didn’t like, nor did he even question an expense is Naperville Mayor George Pradel. For anybody out there anywhere, who wants to sell anything, George Pradel is your ticket to prosperity.

Other than Krause and Chirico, the others are willing to buy anything, though they may have a question or two.

 

Nov 072013
 

How many times have we heard it. Residents address the Naperville city council with their concerns, and the council responds by doing absolutely nothing. They may appear to show interest, or ask a question to a staff member, but when all is said and done, the resident still has the problem.

It happened again at Tuesday’s council meeting when two residents addressed the council during Public Forum regarding sewer over-flow, flooding basements in their neighborhood. Watch and listen as Naperville resident Dale Bryson makes a compelling presentation to the Naperville city council, and he does it in a respectful manner. Not only does he clearly layout the issue, he also presents win-win solutions to the council.

This was immediately followed by Naperville city manager Doug Krieger’s feeble attempt to respond to resident Bryson. Watch and listen as Krieger fumbles and stumbles.

This problem has been going on and on, with no resolution from the city council, city staff, or city manager Krieger. Here is the problem, it’s the residents’ problem; it’s not the city council’s problem, and definitely not Krieger’s problem. It’s not until it becomes the problem of city officials that anything will be done for the residents of this neighborhood. If magically, the sewage water overflow in the residents basements could be transferred to the basements of city officials, the problem could be solved by this weekend.

The fact that residents in this neighborhood get nervous each time it rains, is of little concern to city officials. When the meeting ended, probably a third of the city council went to their favorite ‘watering-hole’, while another third probably went to the closest casino, and the remaining third went home to their dry basements.

Two hours after the council meeting ended, it began to rain, and it rained for eight straight hours. Chances are that Naperville city officials slept well that night.

Nov 052013
 

 

There was a time, not that long ago, when any type of disturbance in downtown Naperville was a major event. Not anymore. Now it’s becoming commonplace. Naperville residents, for the most part, are no longer surprised.

It happened again, when four men were arrested and charged with a variety of offenses including, fighting, battery, resisting a police officer, and disorderly conduct. The mayhem occurred just before 2:00am Sunday October 27 near the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Washington Street, when allegedly one of the street brawlers shoved a woman whose daughter then came to help her mother, and the same person allegedly pushed the younger woman into the southbound lanes of Washington street and she fell and landed on her back. One Naperville police officer was apparently elbowed in the face during the fracas, and a Taser had to be used to gain control of the situation.

Unfortunately worse things have happened recently in downtown Naperville, and at an alarming higher frequency. The result of this, is that residents are becoming desensitized to this type of news. It’s no longer unusual. More and more residents are choosing to go elsewhere than downtown Naperville at night, and especially on weekends. Non-residents are filling the void, so tax dollars are rolling in, and the city benefits.

Naperville city officials have yet to get a handle on this problem, and it’s because they don’t see it as a problem. Liquor licenses continue to increase and high-density projects continue to be a priority.

Half the solution to a problem is the awareness that a problem exists. Naperville city officials are not there yet. Until then, it might be a wise council decision to order more Tasers and distribute them to Naperville families when they venture downtown on weekend nights.

 

Nov 032013
 

Unintended consequences. Improper planning. Not thinking things through. This seems to be commonplace with government, whether it’s Federal (Obamacare), State (pensions), or local (traffic congestion). The examples are endless. Successful businesses can’t allow that to happen. That’s the difference between free enterprise business and bureaucratic government. Politicians don’t have consequences, unless they are voted out of office, or if they get caught in the chaos of their own ill-advised decisions.

This surfaced during the last Naperville city council meeting, when councilmen Doug Krause, Steve Chirico, and Paul Hinterlong questioned Naperville’s Director of Transportation, Bill Novack.

In fairness, councilman Chirico was not on the city council when initial decisions were made effecting current traffic flow, and Krause warned fellow council members of possible traffic issues which have now materialized. However council members Brodhead, Fieseler and Wehrli were directly involved with those decisions, and they all sat on their hands while Novack was left to ‘hang out and dry’ during questioning.

Washington Street is a traffic problem, now Van Buren is a problem, and these are just appetizers for the madness of the Water Street Project coming soon to a gridlock near you. The good news about Naperville’s ongoing traffic congestion, is that speeding will be eliminated, and walking will be back in style. Based on recent council decisions regarding traffic flow and congestion, the following clip could give us a glimpse of downtown Naperville in the future.

It’s possible that the only thing Bill Novack, Director of Transportation can do now, is to get out on the streets himself and direct traffic. Sometimes government titles are magically appropriate.